Tulsa City Council will soon vote on the $824 million budget proposal.
Wednesday was the first of two public hearings allowing people the chance to give their input on the budget before the council votes – the only problem, no one spoke.
Mayor G.T. Bynum's proposed $824 million budget allocates money for new initiatives aimed at helping some of Tulsa's most disadvantaged, including the ‘A Better Way Program.’
"Everybody, I think, is so interested and excited about that program, and we think it will have a real impact," said City Councilor Anna America.
It’s similar to one in Albuquerque, New Mexico - the city would hire panhandlers for day-work, paying them to help clean-up and beautify the city.
This week the Tulsa Authority for Recovery of Energy, TARE, said it would support the program.
"They are looking at putting in some money to help cover that," America said.
They’re offering $50,000.
Councilors are also excited to fund an inebriation center to help those with a drinking problem.
America said, "You'll make an investment there, but we will see a decrease in costs in other places."
Like high jail costs for processing a public intoxication - but it also helps low-level offenders from being labeled as criminals.
“Direct some people into the appropriate services, get them off the streets, or get them out of the jail in the case of the inebriate center,” America said.
The City is also excited to fund better lawn and ground maintenance, as well as hire 90 new officers and 35 new firefighters.
But one of the most important things to the council is increasing health contributions by the City for city employees by 10 percent, as well as some pay increases for city employees.
"Those things are really important to our workforce, which has done without for too long in some of those areas," America said.
You have two more weeks to review the budget and give input to the council.
There will be another public hearing next week during the council’s meeting. The city councilors will vote on the proposed budget June 7th.